According to the Pew Research Center, as of May 2013, 91% of American adults have a cell phone and 63% of those use their phones to go online. As mobile usage continues to increase, healthcare organizations are quickly adapting to accommodate this changing landscape.
Mobile apps are being created to empower consumers to take an active role in managing their health and provide real-time value at the exact moment it’s needed. Responsive websites are replacing mobile-only websites because they adapt to the screen size being used. For healthcare organizations, it’s all about being a positive part of the online experience for their consumers.
Chief Operating Officer at Sharecare, Russ Johannesson, highlighted how these consumers are driving the online sharing of health information in his session, “The Evolution of the Patient Pathway: Social Media as the Disruptive Innovation” at the Healthcare Internet Conference in New Orleans this week. He calls ‘disruptive social media’ the media channels patients are using to get information online.
In his session, he shared some interesting statistics:
- More than 40% of consumers say that information via social media affects the way they deal with their health.
- 50% recommended family, friends and colleagues contact the healthcare facility they visited.
- 7.56 million health-related tweets are sent per month.
- 80% of consumers use the Internet to gather health information.
- Nearly 25% of users with chronic health conditions find people with similar health issues online.
- 1/3 of consumers say they would be comfortable having their social media activity monitored if it leads to improvements in their health or treatments.
- 42% of consumers view health-related consumer reviews on social media.
- 17% post reviews of doctors.
- 44% shared a positive review for care received.
- 26% of Internet users have read or watched someone else’s experience about health or medical issues in the past.
To accommodate these trends, social-specific websites like PatientsLikeMe.com, CureTogether.com, 23AndMe.com, and Sharecare are gaining popularity because they include elements of social media communities, mobile app features and healthcare expertise. These websites get the online conversation going among consumers with similar health statuses which leads to information sharing.
As patients share information with others, they discover useful tools tailored to their needs. This leads to more informed patients – patients that are more empowered to manage their own health. What does this mean? It’s vital for healthcare marketers to participate in the conversations patients are having on social media. Take the time to listen to these conversations. Then find ways to deliver value to them.